If you’re a fan of the earlier iteration of the Hawkeye series then you’ll probably remember that Kate Bishop was the heart of the book. The dynamic between Clint and Kate was what propelled that book to the forefront of Marvel. In this latest installment Kate has taken center stage and for a moment this looked like it was going to be a mistake on Marvel’s part. I’m happy to report that this title is just as good if not better without Clint Barton.
Kate’s on the hunt for her villainous father, a search that has taken her out to the West coast and the sunshine of L.A. It’s here that she has found a new life for herself, new friends, started a new detective agency, and is finding her own way in life.
In this issue we get a two-for-one on the awesome scale as fellow detective Jessica Jones joins in the mystery of a missing woman; a case that takes on a unique turn halfway through the comic. We end up with a story that involves dragons, super heroes, and even a clever Law and Order joke!
My hat is off to Kelly Thompson. I really enjoyed the Hawkeye series before this re-launch and I was unsure how the book would feel without Clint in the spotlight. I had always liked Kate, but her character was untested in handling the strain of her own title. Thompson has come to this series knowing the sweet spot that made this title sing, it wasn’t the action or the heroics, it was the interplay between characters and making the world around them quirky and real. Thompson delivers that in spades.
The artwork is less of a celebration though as Walsh’s Dragon is absolutely horrible. In fact the artist seems to be more comfortable with drawing daily activities than action and once the book kicks into gear towards the end and there is a fight scene… the artwork falls apart. I don’t want to bury Walsh, because his work earlier in the title seems to gel really well with the narrative, but those action pages—Yeesh!
There is more than enough heart here to carry this book. I’m not sure that it will reach the heights of its predecessor but it has more than enough merits on its own to make readers care and invest in Kate’s adventures.
Final Score: 3 ½ out of 5 Stars
Story: Kelly Thompson
Art: Michael Walsh
Colors: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: VC’s Joe Sabino and Travis Lanham